Fitzgerald’s class keeps Shannon in the hunt for AIL honours

Shannon have moved into third position of Division 1A of the All Ireland League after a 31-20 victory over UCC at Thomond Park’s back pitch last weekend.

Elsewhere, it was a tough day at the office for both Young Munster and Garryowen as they suffered defeats to Lansdowne and Cork Constitution respectively.

Having recently made his debut for Connacht in the European Challenge Cup,  Conor Fitzgerald starred for Shannon with a total of 16 points that included a try, four conversions and a penalty. Lee Nicholas, Luke Clohessy and Jack Stafford also crossed over the whitewash for Tom Hayes’ men.

Shannon didn’t take long to open the scoring with Nicholas crashing over from close range and Fitzgerald added the extras. James Taylor kicked a penalty for UCC to get them on the scoreboard but a superb intercept try from Fitzgerald, that he also converted, restored Shannon’s control of the game. 

John Poland answered back for UCC but Shannon were soon over for their third try from Clohessy. Fitzgerald’s third conversion of the half put them 21-8 up at the break.

Shannon’s lead was soon at 20 points thanks to Stafford’s bonus point try. However, UCC fought back through John Hodnett and a second try by Poland and the lead was now at eight points.

Fitzgerald calmed whatever Shannon nerves may have been circling with a penalty that sealed their third win of the 1A campaign.

Young Munster and Garryowen sit in seventh and eighth places respectively after their weekend defeats. The Cookies fell to a 23-12 defeat to Lansdowne at Tom Clifford Park.

The Dublin team’s full back and captain Eamonn Mills was star of the show and his 15th minute try gave his side the perfect start. Peter Sullivan crossed for a second try for Lansdowne before half time to put the Dublin side 10-0 up.

Munster’s needed a response at the beginning of the second half and the talented Conor Hayes went over for a superb individual try that he also converted to bring the back into the game.

Two Harry Byrne penalties wrestled control back to Lansdowne but a Darragh O’Neill try ensured a grandstand finish. With Munster’s camped on the Lansdowne line, Mills intercepted and ran the length of the field for the game clinching try.

Garryowen went down to their third defeat of the 2018/19 campaign on a 27-3 scoreline at Temple Hill. JJ O’Neill got scoring underway for Con when he raced onto an Aidan Moynihan grubber kick for their first try.

Moynihan added the resultant conversion and two penalties that put Con 13-0 to the good. Peadar Collins replied for Garryowen before half time but tries from Brian Scott and Rob Jermyn, as well as two Moynihan conversions saw Con to a convincing win.

Elsewhere, UL-Bohemians lost for the third time of the Division 2A season, going down to Navan by 32-7 at Belreask. Old Crescent also suffered defeat on a 61-14 scoreline against Highfield in Rosbrien. In 2C, Bruff ground out a 20-5 win over Seapoint, while Thomond lost 35-20 to Ballina.

In the Women’s AIL, UL Bohemians tasted defeat for the first time this term by 27-22 to Cooke at Shaw’s Bridge. Trailing by 14 points at one stage, Bohs got back into the game with tries from Claire Bennett, Fiona Hayes and Niamh Briggs but Claire Johnson’s effort saw Cooke to the win.

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